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BOOK
VI.

Citizens

a properly organised state, to which they did not belong by birth. The weight of this objection to foreigners as a class of men necessarily excluded from the national worship was exhibited in the opposition which the patricians made when the plebeians claimed equal rights. It was argued by the former that plebeians could not possibly share in the auspicia. This argument seemed for some time unanswerable. Yet, however important religious considerations may be, material requirements cannot be for ever set aside by them. When resistance to social and political reforms is too stubborn, the desire for reform changes into the necessity of revolution. In Rome, fortunately, reason gained the victory over religious and political prejudices, and the plebeians obtained their full right of citizenship; they entered but did not destroy that community of sacred and profane rights from which they had long been excluded. Their victory over religious prejudices, combined with the progress of civilisation and the influence of Greek enlightenment, gradually caused religion to lose its former influence on constitutional questions. The political struggles which followed no longer depended on religious considerations. They were of a very different nature from the disputes between patricians and plebeians. The old parties had been opposed to each other' as two distinct corporate bodies. The struggle was violent because the whole mass of the plebeians were engaged in it as an undivided party. It was terminated and finally closed when the plebeians gained their demands, because none of them were excluded from the fruits of victory, and none were left outside those barriers which had been forced. On the other hand, the dispute which was now commencing for admission to the full rights of citizenship was renewed each time after the demands of one set of claimants had been satisfied, because an agency was at work which continually supplied new candidates for the coveted rights.

This agency was slavery, the source to which so many and slaves. radical defects of ancient life in its social, political, and

moral aspects are due. The emancipation of slaves was the safety-valve for a society based upon slavery. It produced a class of people intermediate between citizens and foreigners, between those who enjoyed full rights and those who enjoyed none; but it was a population which could not remain long in that position without endangering the safety of the state. The freedmen and citizens, on an equal footing in economical and private affairs, gradually became so closely united that it was not wise or even possible to maintain political distinctions between them. Statesmen who recognised this could, without being demagogues, receive the freedmen as citizens in order to combat that conservative spirit which would have barred out all new comers from the exclusive privileges of the old citizens. A thorough knowledge of what was necessary to the state caused men of different political opinions to unite in the wish to add fresh blood to the Roman community by admitting new citizens, and at the same time by converting internal enemies into friends. It was only in the manner and degree of such innovations that different tendencies. and views manifested themselves; hence the periodical changes and additions made to the body of citizens, though on the whole tending in one direction, exhibit during several centuries perceptible fluctuations.

CHAP.
I.

men and

So long as the number of slaves in Rome was limited, The freedas was the case not only in the time of the kings but the tribes. down to a late period in the republic, numerous emancipations were out of the question, and the number of freedmen consequently could not increase to any considerable extent.1

It must, therefore, be an anachronism, so

1 It has been erroneously inferred from the ler Manlia of 337 B.C. that even at that comparatively early period there must have been at Rome a great number of slaves. The lex Manlia, which was passed on the motion of the consul in the camp of the Roman army at a distance from Rome, imposed a tax (vicesima, or five per cent.) on the price of liberated slaves. This extraordinary procedure, which was never repeated, can be explained only on the supposition that the army of Manlius made an unusual and unexpected number of prisoners, who, as was often the case, were at once ransomed by their countrymen, and not carried to Rome as slaves. The consul might have reserved the whole ransom for the benefit of the state. Instead of doing this,

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BOOK

VI.

frequent with the Roman annalists, when some writers' speak, even in the regal period, of masses of freedmen being enrolled in the city tribes. These writers imagined the state of affairs which existed in their time to be nearly as old as the Roman commonwealth itself, and they ascribed unhesitatingly to Servius Tullius the first measure for enrolling liberated slaves among the tribes. Even in the first century of the republican period we have no reason to suppose that a great increase took place in the number of slaves, nor, consequently, of freedmen. It was not until the destruction of Veii2 that a change was brought about, and only in the course of the Samnite wars that the number of prisoners of war, and therefore of slaves and freedmen, could swell so as to affect the social and political condition of Rome. At the same time these most destructive and sanguinary wars reduced the number of Roman citizens, and it was therefore a wise measure most appropriate to the time when in the year 312 B.C. the censor Appius Claudius inscribed in the rolls of the tribes all the freedmen then existing, thereby granting them full rights of citizenship.3 To all appearance this was the first time that freedmen were received in any great numbers among the citizens. Plutarch says this explicitly; but even if we attach little weight to his words, yet the fact is not the less certain because of its intrinsic probability and the absence of all evidence to the contrary. It is, therefore, to Appius Claudius that we must ascribe the first step taken in that internal transformation of the body of Roman citizens which was caused by the periodical admission of freedmen. His reform, however, was of short duration. It is true the new citizens were never again deprived of their rights, but Quintus Fabius, the censor for the year 304 B.C., confined the whole of them within he allowed his army to keep the money as booty, binding them only by a law, passed on the spot, to pay into the public exchequer a tax of five per cent. This event, therefore, is no proof of the large extension of slavery in the fourth century BC., but rather of the reverse.

4

Dionys. iv. 22.

Zonaras, vii. 9.

3 Vol. i. p. 435.

2 Compare vol. i. p. Plutarch, Poplicola, 7.

252.

the four city tribes, thus clearing the country tribes of the town population recently received into them. This was a measure of great importance, inasmuch as the country tribes were thus enabled to preserve their original character of rural districts, containing chiefly the peasantry which was under the influence of the great landed proprietors. The four city tribes, on the other hand, contained the great mass of tradespeople, artisans, and the poorer classes generally. Now for the first time a difference in rank was established between the town and country tribes, and the latter declared to be superior to the former, whereas previously the town districts, where the noblest Romans resided, were held to be at least as respectable as those of the country.1

CHAP.

I.

and the

It was not, however, regarded as a rule by succeeding The censors that the new citizens should be limited to the four censors tribes within the city of Rome. The freedmen, increasing freedmen. in numbers from census to census, were received among the citizens according to the principles laid down by Appius Claudius, so that shortly before the Hannibalic war there were freedmen as new citizens in every tribe. This state of things, which could not but undermine the aristocratic and truly Roman character of the country tribes and place all the power in the hands of the townspeople, was put an end to, not by a stubborn aristocrat, but by the much-abused popular leader Caius Flaminius, the far-sighted statesman who strove to give fresh life to the Roman peasantry, and new vigour to the state by extensive distributions of land in the district of Picenum, which had been conquered from the Gauls. Flaminius, during his censorship (223 B.C.), again limited the new citizens (but probably only those received by him, not those entered in the country districts since the time of Quintus Fabius) to the four city tribes.3 By this means 1 Comp. vol. i. p. 434, note 3. 2 Vol. ii. pp. 126, 195.

3 It was from these four city tribes that in 217 B.C. an exercitus urbanus was raised as well as soldiers for the fleet. Apparently it was the intention of Quintus Fabius, and of all the censors who restricted the new citizens to the city tribes, that the soldiers levied from them should be employed for such

BOOK
VI.

The urban and the

rural tribes.

he followed the example, not of the innovating demagogue Appius Claudius, but of the cautious conservative Fabius, who for his wise measure is said to have received the surname Maximus.1

The Hannibalic war interrupted measures of a similar character. We hear nothing of further reforms in the organisation of the tribes, and therefore we may conclude that the practice established by Flaminius was followed by succeeding censors, and that the freedmen who were received from time to time remained restricted to the four city tribes. An additional proof of this is furnished by the fact that in the course of the Hannibalic war we hear repeatedly of city legions which must have been formed of these new citizens. A further confirmation of this view is the motion which the tribune Quintus Terentius Culleo laid before the tribes in the year 189 B.C., and which, as it appears, contained the first regulation by a distinct law for the reception of freedmen into the tribes. This law of Terentius is known to us only from a brief mention in Plutarch, and therefore we do not know its tendency and contents accurately. But, as it appears to have been called forth only by the rule which had been observed since the time of Flaminius, and which restricted the freedmen to the four city tribes, it probably, in opposition to this rule, provided that the policy of Appius Claudius was again to be adopted, and that new citizens should be admitted into all the tribes.

Censorship This is rendered still more probable by the report of a of Lepidus step taken by the censors Lepidus and Fulvius in the year 179 B.C., ten years later. These censors, it appears, applied the law of Terentius in a modified form; they admitted

and Fulvius.

extraordinary services as the defence of the city, as a reserve force, and for manning the fleet, whereas Appius Claudius, and those of his successors who inscribed the freedmen in all the tribes indiscriminately, wished to make no such distinction, but to raise the military force equally from all the tribes.

This, however, is a mistake, as appears from Polybius, iii. 87, 6. The apocryphal statement, repeated by most historians, shows in what light the policy of Fabius appeared to the later politicians of the aristocratic party. 2 Plutarch, Flamin. 18.

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